No is a two letter word that’s difficult to accept

Karalee’s Post #31

For the last six weeks my body has been controlling me through something physical called pain. Pain in the butt to be exact, and down my left leg. Sciatica.

My dragon boat team started practicing the first week in March. I lasted four sessions on the water and could hardly walk up the dock to my car afterwards. I’d had problems last season, but nothing like this.

I had to say no to staying on the team.

I also had to say no to any activities for the next month.

After four weeks of physiotherapy and medications I was able to walk the dogs six blocks and start back in the gym and ride my bike, all at  50%, but hey, I was back being active. Running was still out of the question. I also couldn’t sit up to write so I made myself a pillow backrest complete with hot water bottle and wrote semi-reclined, much like the position of Paula’s chair a few posts ago.

I was writing well and making great progress. My characters (good, bad, major, minor, walk-ons and red-herrings) were all lined up and migrating together like geese, the characters changing positions in timely fashion to keep the pace sharp.

Then last week I bumped up my activity to 70%, still no running or sitting to write, and I felt quite good.

So, I added in some gardening.

I love to garden and once I get going I usually don’t stop until 4 or 5 hours later. Last week I made myself quit before two hours. This was the time it took me to dig in my winter rye so it could decompose as green fertilizer for my vegetable garden. It had to be done as it takes three weeks after digging it in before I can plant seeds.

I felt okay with only some increased back pain and no leg pain.

The next morning I was back to a massive pain in the butt and down my leg again. Not as bad as initially, but I could only walk the dogs two blocks and had to cut out activities for five days.

I’ve had to say no to gardening.

front yard

front yard

So, I hired my daughter, a landscape gardener, and her boyfriend to weed and mulch my front yard. They’ve done a great job and I appreciate it.

I need to go at a slower pace than what my mind demands, and listen to my body. Really listen. It’s hard to say no to activities I love to do and sit back and wait. The pace is too slow, like a poorly written thriller.

dogs at front door

dogs at front door

I feel so young still, my body should heal fast, right?

It’s important to be a good listener and to be flexible.

I can still spend time with my dogs and my family, bike to have coffee with friends instead of running with them, and of course, I can still write and go wherever and do whatever my characters do.

And that’s a lot of freedom.

If I listen better this time and progress at a steady pace instead of trying to leap into heavier activities, then there is still  time to heal and be able to do the hiking and longer bike rides that I like to do in the summer. I’ll also be able to get back to gardening and running.

But I will continue to say no to dragon boating. My body doesn’t tolerate the bending and twisting. If that’s all I end up saying no to, I can live with that.

Happy writing.

7 thoughts on “No is a two letter word that’s difficult to accept

  1. Even if we have to say ‘no’ to some things, we writers have one thing nobody can take away from us: the freedom to create anything we want, without restrictions. That’s a gift not too many people can enjoy. Hurry back to your painless self, Karalee.

  2. So sorry, Karalee. I know just how you feel as I’ve been plagued with recurring sciatica for a couple of years (there have been some 5 writers meetings where I’ve had to make the long walk onto the Horseshoe Bay ferry in 100 foot increments, with a bent-over rest in between). Sucks! Hope you’re back up to speed soon, but you’re right to let your body tell you what it’s ready for. Meanwhile, happy writing!

  3. How I feel with you. It is as if you are writing for me as well.The garden looks beautiful so it is something to feast your eye on knowing that lovely helpers have worked for you to boost it into spring. – Another reflexion on the positive side of this affliction is the caring people we have in our lives. Hang in there!

  4. Thanks Diana. It’s hard to have other people help with what we used to do for others. It all comes around. I’m feeling better and am back in the gym and on the bike. And of course meeting with friends for coffee and writing

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